If you're looking to install a backyard water fountain, then take the opportunity to determine what design you want. The great thing about designing a fountain is that you don't have to work with the natural flow of water. The water will recirculate through a pump that is powered either by a battery, or by a hardwired electrical cord.
Here are some different designs to consider.
Tiered Stand Of River Rocks
If you are looking for a natural looking waterfall, then river rocks would make a great design. You can either choose natural stone, or synthetic river rock that is made from a plastic material and is hollow. These synthetic rocks will be very lightweight, so you can move the fountain easily if you choose. The water will pour out through a tube near the top of the rocks and gently flow down into a catch basin at the base where it will recirculate.
A Meditating Buddha
If you like the idea of a Zen style, meditating garden, then a Buddha statue fountain would be perfect. A popular design is to have the Buddha sitting on a rock, above a basin of water. In his lap he holds a bowl of water which flows out and into the catch basin, where it returns to the bowl though an unseen pipe. This is a very tranquil fountain that is perfect for contemplation and reflection.
Grecian Vase Design
If you like the look of classical Greek artwork, then why not choose a fountain that looks like a beautiful Grecian vase. You can have them situated on a bed of smooth pebbles. The catch basin can be hidden underneath the pebbles so it looks like the water simply disappears down through the rocks. You can adjust the water spout so that it spits high into the air above the vase, or bubbles out over the surface.
Mock Wishing Well
Another fun idea is to set up a mock wishing well. These can be made of weathered brick, with an old wooden bucket suspended from the roof of the well. The piping can be setup so that the water pours out from a tilted bucket and falls into the body of the well. The catch basin and recirculation piping can all be concealed in the body of the well so that it's not visible from the outside.
One of the simplest fountains is also one of the most beautiful. A motorized bird fountain, made of ceramic or stone, will create a constant bubbling stream of water. This will look wonderful, and it also has the benefit of preventing algae, mold, and West Nile Virus (which can thrive in stagnant water.) Contact a nursery, like Bob Williams Nursery Inc., to see what is available in your area.